Despite Fire, Barbecue Still Celebrates 50 Years

Berkeley’s KC’s Bar-B-Que was shut down by a mid-February fire, but their 50th anniversary party is still on.

Known to locals as “The Pit”,  KC’s Bar-B-Que in South Berkeley has had Saturday, March 4 circled for months on the calendar for their big 50th anniversary celebration. That was before a Feb. 17 fire caused severe damage and forced the location to close indefinitely. But their 50 Years in the Making Anniversary Party is back on, now scheduled for the same date and time but instead being held at Saint Columba Church in Oakland.

The 50th anniversary party now becomes a fundraiser rather than just an anniversary celebration. “We want to give the community an opportunity to wrap around us and show us some love and support, as they have for the last 50 years,” says Kristen Davis, daughter of the owner and granddaughter of the founder of KC’s Bar-B-Que.

Vernell Davis, Sr. opened KC’s Bar-B-Que 50 years ago at the exact San Pablo Avenue location that is now inoperable because of the fire. “You can go ten blocks in any direction from the restaurant and the community knows exactly where KC’s Bar-B-Que is,” Davis tells SF Weekly. “They know the Davis family well. The abruptness and the suddenness of the fire is not only devastating to us, but to the community.”

The restaurant is running a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of reopening as soon as possible. “We do eventually want to have another storefront and continue our barbecue legacy, because the barbecue restaurant was so much more than a restaurant,” Davis says.

The barbecue restaurant will be up and running again as a pop-up, at least for a few hours, for the KC’s Bar-B-Que 50 Years in the Making Anniversary Party on Saturday, March 4 from Noon – 4 p.m. at the Saint Columba Church Hall.


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